The great and the good of the global EdTech sector were joined by Tom and Nick of SSi at London’s Tobacco Dock for the 10th edtechX conference towards the end of June.
What an event!
Many of the leading lights who are pushing the limits of technology to deliver a wide range of developments for all aspects of education were there.
For example, the possibilities that Artificial Intelligence,(Ai,) is opening for every aspect of education will transform the sector but, hold on, check out Organoid Intelligence (Oi,) that will take Ai to another level!
We lapped up such insights and are now thinking how to incorporate them within SSi delivery systems.
A packed agenda of speakers and panels were interspersed with networking sessions, all topped off with a gala dinner!
Tom and Nick made the most of the whole day and made some amazing contacts that will help SSi as we seek working partnerships in the future.
Way back in its infancy in 2011, SSi was nominated for an Inspire Wales Award and won the Global Wales category. For a company so young it was an overwhelming experience, but also an incredible boost to keep going despite the odds.
This month, twelve years after that glorious event, we found ourselves once more biting our nails watching a gold envelope being opened, but this time at a different awards ceremony – The Wales Business Awards.
It was an honour for SSi to not only have been nominated for a Wales Business Award but also to have been one of the finalists for the Digital Business of the Year category, listed among the brightest and the best in Wales.
Now in their 20th year, the Wales Business Awards (which celebrate ‘gold-standard businesses’ from all sectors across Wales) aim to reward the successes of businesses within the last year.
This year’s glitzy, Great Gatsby-themed awards ceremony was held at the ICC Wales in Newport on Thursday the 18th of May and was hosted by broadcaster Andrea Byrne.
Aran Jones, Catrin Jones, Dr Joanne Phoenix, Nick Prichard and Tom Cassidy represented SSi at the ceremony, taking advantage of the invaluable opportunity to network. We met with so many impassioned and hard-working individuals, who form the backbone of some of Wales’ most innovative businesses.
The evening was a spectacular success, filled with some amazing 1920s-themed outfits and music from the swing band Almost Modern Jukebox.
EatSleep Media was the very worthy winner of our category – a highly creative team of individuals who create cutting-edge digital content for a wide range of platforms. If you have the time it’s worth checking out their website!
We did walk away with a bottle of prosecco from the raffle, though, we only wish we could share it with all of you!
On the day that London was brought to a standstill by a tube strike and a huge march by teachers, doctors and railway staff, SaySomethingin managed to get to the point of their ire, the Houses of Parliament.
Our CEO, Aran, donned his best, even polishing his green Doc Martins, as we had been invited to a House of Commons reception for Sri Lankan High Commissioner.
Why should we be in such an important place and talking with such exalted, non-Welsh, company?
Here at SSi, in addition to our core belief in the importance of the Welsh language, we believe that learning languages can contribute to an individual’s growth in so many ways, emotionally, socially and economically.
We are currently developing Tamil and Sinhala modules, which are the two languages spoken in Sri Lanka. A local charity there, The Tea Leaf Trust, sees the ability for each language to speak each other and English as key to growth for so many.
At the reception, we met with important Sri Lankan officials including the High Commissioner’s Deputy who is keen to meet with the Welsh Education Minister to find out more about our Welsh language pilot within Welsh secondary schools.
Further evidence that wherever you go in the world, everything always leads back to Wales!
In addition to promoting the Welsh language in Wales (and all over the world,) one of the core purposes of Saysomethingin is to extend the use of its unique language learning methodology to other indigenous and endangered languages.
To achieve this aim we need to understand how to market ourselves abroad, who to partner with in countries we would like to work in and build a robust export strategy.
Fortunately, we have access to a wide range of expert resources that can assist us with these and many other commercial activities through the Welsh Government’s Business Wales initiative.
That is why we attended the Explore Export Wales 2023 conference at Cardiff City Stadium which was organised by Business Wales.
We were able to access top-notch advice around a myriad of export-related topics which, whilst not reading as an exciting top ten of subjects for the dinner table, are in fact vital to get right before we consider expanding our offer abroad – tax, IP protection, finance, trade agreements and training to name just a few.
There was also a chance to meet Welsh Government representatives who are based in the countries we may consider extending the SSi offer to. This local resource is vital to our building the right foundation before committing to any new language provision.
SSi went to a function earlier this week that served as a prelude to an exciting Welsh event to be held later in the year. We very well may attend, to demonstrate our e-learning platform to our Tech peers.
It is Wales Tech Week 2023, which will be held at the ICC, Newport, in October.
See for yourself at https://www.walestechweek.com
The presentation updated all attendees on how the event will promote Welsh Tech on the global stage through…
- Illustrating the scope of opportunities for Welsh businesses to embrace local Tech
- Building Welsh Tech talent – “from a talent pool to a talent ocean”
- Showcasing Welsh innovation
- Linking government, academia and business
A range of exhibitions, panels and specialist speakers are going to bring Tech to life around three key pillars…
- Tech for good
- Tech for the planet
- Tech for tomorrow
To further develop our distinctive language methodology, SSi aims to take advantage of the exciting opportunities being explored by the Tech sector. We want to increase access to the Welsh language so that more people may learn it when, where, and how they want, in the most engaging ways imaginable.
We also would love for whatever tech we employ to be Welsh Tech!
Last week SSi attended the GlobalWelsh, Connect to London, event where eight awesome start-up Welsh companies pitched to a group of London-based business people, investors and entrepreneurs.
The companies were 2B Enterprising, Kaydiar, Bearhug, Used & Loved, Validient, Everknock, Pintech io and Voltric, covering a wide range of specialist sectors, from medical provision to electric vehicles, property to secondhand clothing.
We were able to stress the importance of the Welsh language to all attendees – all were really interested in how we see Automagic taking our offer forward. They all realised the importance of Welsh language provision once they had established their offer and secured their immediate funding.
The whole event was sponsored by our old friends, the Development Bank of Wales who introduced us to our wonderful Chairperson, Joanne.
It is wonderful to see such a vibrant, varied and proudly Welsh start-up business community seeking to influence so many interesting business sectors.
In early February SaySomethingin were invited to the launch of the new S4C programme, Stori’r Iaith, that explores what the Welsh language means to 4 presenters – actress and singer Lisa Jên Brown, The One Show’s Alex Jones, comedian Ellis James and Countryfile’s Sean Fletcher.
Held at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff and hosted by one of the show’s presenters, Sean Fletcher, the event also celebrated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between S4C and the Welsh Government around the 2050 target of 1 million Welsh speakers.
After wonderful music was provided by the enchanting Welsh language singer, Bronwen Lewis, we were told about the need to make such a show to blow the myth of Welsh being both difficult and little used. The significance of assisting everyone in speaking Welsh as they, the speaker, see fit was strongly acknowledged.
Sean movingly told us how having been born in The Bronx, New York, then moving to Braintree, Essex, meant that he only started learning Welsh as an adult after promising to do so at his wedding into a fluent Welsh speaking family.
His learning process left him the feeling that his Welsh was not “good enough” despite his obvious desire to embrace the language. All agreed that Welsh speakers must accept non-grammatically correct use to encourage all newcomers to the language.
This was further music to our ears, as core to the SSi methodology is the idea that language memory is improved through making mistakes. Given this, we are eager to assist S4C and the Welsh Government in bringing about a genuine language shift in Wales.
At the end of January a SaySomethingin (SSi) initiative, we have been working on with the National Centre for Learning Welsh for the last six months, came to fruition.
In a star-studded, bi-lingual, multi-media launch, the SSi module that allows Arabic, Dari and Pashto speakers to learn Welsh direct from their mother tongue was introduced as part of the National Centre’s “Croeso i Bawb” (Welcome to all) programme.
Appropriately the launch event was held at the centre for asylum seekers and refugees – The Oasis – located in the enticingly named Cardiff suburb of Splott.
Speakers included Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and for the Welsh Language in the Welsh Government and Dona Lewis, the recently appointed CEO of the National Centre.
Polish and Syrian refugees gave moving speeches on their experiences studying Welsh and how crucial it was for them to do so. One person compared learning Welsh to receiving “a large warm hug” – what a wonderful description of what learning Welsh meant to her.